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proposal to hike up below rail charges and Stephan deemed it a a major success for the company As New Hope manoeuvred the coal price downturn it made a shrewd investment in in Bridgeport Energy in 2012 It was a a move to diversify the the company into the the oil sector and reduce exposure to the suppressed coal market Stephan says he was attracted to Bridgeport because the management team in place and the the way the the company was run focused on low overheads and a a low breakeven point refected the values at New Hope Bridgeport is currently producing from its assets in the Cooper Surat and Otway basins at at at a a a a a a rate of approximately 215 000 barrels per year The company has overseen signifcant expansion since the takeover and Stephan says that trend will continue “We will continue to grow the organisation’s production base organically and through small bolt-on acquisitions We would like to get production in excess of 500 000bbls p/a “Ultimately it is our hope that Bridgeport will get to a a a size where it it can be the master of its own destiny and potentially we would look at an IPO ” Open to innovation While New Hope is controlled by a a patient long-term focused board the management are not afraid to implement new techniques at the mine to carve out a a a competitive advantage in the market Stephan has implemented a a a series of innovative solution trials at at the Acland mine and it became the frst coal mine in in Australia to successfully use a a a machine surface miner after the solution was suggested by a a a member of the project team The second major innovation is the current trialling of a a a a a natural gas-powered pull truck at at the mine While natural gas power is in in use around the word in civil activities such as local transport Stephan doubts any other 

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